TAO TE CHING TEACHINGS: Balanced Leadership


“The best leadership is balanced”

Leadership also has the additional meanings of government, administration, and management. What I translated as balanced also has the meanings of peaceful, righteous, just, and harmonious.

In order to understand why these are essential qualities for leadership or government, we need to investigate why one seeks to become a leader to become with. The principle requisite for becoming a leader is that you possess something that others do not. The Buddha was enlightened whilst others were not, so he used his leadership to lead others to enlightenment. Lao Tzu comprehended The Way, whilst others had forgotten, so he used his leadership to lead them back to The Way. The enlightened man wants others to be enlightened. The happy man wants others to be happy. The liberated man wants others to be free. In all these instances, the desire to lead is inspired by the desire to share what the leader has. As such, like these people, leadership should always be grounded in mutuality, selflessness and compassion. That is why we say ‘The best leadership is balanced.’

This balance exists not just within the being of the leader, but also the balance between him and whom he teaches. Teaching others, I accept that they will also have much to teach me. Leading others, I take it for granted that they will have much to show me too. So, leadership is humble and just. Just because you are leader, that doesn’t mean you are greater or more important than others – it means you have an even greater responsibility to do good for others. Leadership is a sacred function, and not one to be accepted lightly. Many Taoists were so cautious that they avoided all government appointments, and were very selective in taking on pupils.

Question the motivations of every leader. Are they working for others, or working themselves? Are they leading others towards happiness, or just leading themselves to greater wealth, fame and luxury? Ask these questions of yourself. If you can be peaceful and balanced in the government of yourself and others, than you will be doing alright!



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